: Question about used M3 or 330i

05-20-2005, 11:43 PM

I'm thinking of buying an used e46 M3, either '01 or '02, or 330i(has to be manual). I have never owned a BMW before, and am used to doing most maintenance myself(oil change,brake pad change, etc). Can anyone tell me how the M3 is in terms of reliability? How about for 330i? Do the early e46s have many problems? What are the most common ones, are they serious/performance/safety problems and are the repairs costly? Can I do the maintenance myself or I have to get it done at BMW shops?

I realize that I shouldn't expect honda/toyota level of parts/labor cost, but I'd still like to know how it is for M3s/330i.

Thanks a lot for reading these questions. Responses are greatly appreciated.

05-21-2005, 10:31 AM
It's best to decide which car you want first...M3's and 330's are totally different animals. Also, if you're looking at 330's perhaps due to budgetary considerations, you'll want to look at the '99 M3's as well.

05-21-2005, 04:10 PM
Actually, I'm considering the 330i as well since I want to make it easier for people to sit in the back instead of climbing from the front (as it is with M3). And as I think the 330i's 3L i6 would be more resilient to failure compared to M3's, with its high-strung engine, 330i might give me more trouble-free miles. The M3 is a choice since its much higher performance more than make up for the inconvenience stemming from its 2-door config.

Make it simpler to read, my first choice would be manual e46 M3. If all I see are high-mileage/abused ones, then I'll go for 330i.

05-21-2005, 06:34 PM
I've owned my E46 M3's for less than a year (I did previously own a couple of E36 M3's --- they were extremely reliable (despite my having driven them hard...what others may classify as abuse)).

However, a reasonable safety net against big ticket repairs is to find a good CPO car (either from a dealer or a private party...CPO goes with the car). You might be surprised to find that a majority of used M3's are very well taken care of.

Also, if you test drive a well-maintained M3, I'm pretty sure that the 330's will fall out of the equation (you really won't care anymore about how your passengers get in and out of the backseat).